Sick Leave

Overview

Eligible employees are granted sick leave according to their appointment type. Sick leave is a valuable benefit both during employment and in retirement. At retirement, any unused sick leave is converted to a dollar amount to help pay for your health insurance in retirement.

Eligibility

Classified Employees

All Classified employees, except Limited Term employees (LTE's), earn sick leave.

Unclassified Faculty, Academic Staff and Limited Appointees

Unclassified Faculty, Academic Staff and Limited appointees earn sick leave if they are either:

  • Covered by the Wisconsin Retirement System (WRS), or
  • Expected to work at least 440 hours (21% for annual-basis and 28% for academic year appointment) for at least one year. Employees initially hired on an academic year contract meet the one year duration requirement if they are expected to return the following academic year.

Visiting Faculty are eligible for sick leave through the University if their home institutions do not provide it, even if they are not eligible for the WRS.

Usage

Sick leave may not be used before it’s earned. You can use sick leave when you miss work due to the following:

  • A medical, dental, vision appointment for you or a family member
  • Your own illness or injury
  • For temporary care of a family member with an illness or injury
  • After the death of a family member

The federal or Wisconsin Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) may allow use of sick leave for purposes other than those listed above.

If you miss work due to illness for 5 or more consecutive days, you must provide written physician certification (does not apply if on approved FMLA leave).

Accrual

The amount of sick leave you earn is based on your appointment type. If you are part-time, the amount of sick leave will be pro-rated according to your appointment percentage.

Classified Employees

Classified project and permanent employees earn 5 hours of sick leave per bi-weekly pay period (130 hours per year), prorated for part-time employees.  Sick leave for Classified permanent employees accumulates from year to year, without limit. 

Classified project employees who never attained permanent status:  Sick leave will accumulate without limit until your project position ends.  Sick leave may not be transferred from a project position to another project or permanent position.

Unclassified Faculty, Academic Staff and Limited Appointees

Unclassified Faculty, Academic Staff and Limited appointees are given 176 hours (22 days) of Initial Entitlement for use during the first 18 months of employment (pro-rated if part-time).

After Initial Entitlement period, Unclassified Faculty, Academic Staff and Limited appointees earn 96 hours (12 days) of sick leave per year.

  • 8 hours per paycheck for annual-basis (12-month) employees
  • 10.6 hours per paycheck for academic year (9-month) employees (if you have an academic year contract and you work during the summer, you do not earn additional sick leave)

Sick leave accumulates from year to year, without limit, provided you submit all required leave reports. If you do not submit all of your leave reports during the fiscal year, the sick leave earned in that fiscal year may be reduced.

Termination

At termination of all UW employment, your sick leave hours are lost unless*:

  • You transfer to another State Agency; or
  • You have 20 years of state service under the Wisconsin Retirement System (WRS), making you eligible to convert your sick leave to pay for health insurance in retirement; or
  • You retire on an immediate annuity (or lump-sum retirement benefit), in which you are eligible to convert your sick leave to pay for health insurance in retirement; or
  • You are laid off, in which you are eligible to convert your sick leave to pay health insurance premiums for up to 5 years; or
  • You return to a leave-earning position at the UW within your reinstatement period. Your sick leave balance will then be restored to you.
    • Classified employees – must return within 5 years to any leave-earning appointment
    • Unclassified Faculty, Academic Staff or Limited appointees – must return within 3 years to any leave-earning appointment

If you pass away while actively employed and you carry family health insurance, your family members are eligible to use the value of your sick leave account to pay for State Group Health Insurance premiums after your death.

*Classified project employees who never attained permanent status:  Sick leave hours will be lost if your project position terminates unless you retire on an immediate annuity (or lump-sum retirement benefit), in which you are eligible to convert your sick leave to pay for health insurance in retirement.

Accumulated Sick Leave Conversion Credit (ASLCC) and Supplemental Health Insurance Conversion Credit (SHICC) programs

University employees are eligible for the conversion of their sick leave credits to pay for State Group Health Insurance at layoff, termination with 20 years of service, retirement, or death provided eligibility requirements are met.

See the Sick Leave Conversion Credit page and estimator for more information.